Posted: 18 June, 2020

GDST Laurie Magnus Poetry Prize 2020


Congratulations to Year 11 student Ahana B who is the winner of the Year 10-11 category of the GDST Laurie Magnus Poetry Prize 2020 with her poem titled ‘Likeness’.

The poems were judged by Sydenham High School alumna Claudia Daventry, Claudia said:

“I chose Ahana’s poem Likeness as the winning poem in this group for its control, the strong imagery and coherence: lipstick and a mirror as a sort of timewarp – and the connection between youth and age, the grandmother and her granddaughter.”


to underestimate the power of hope
is to slather the cracks of your skin
in your grandmother’s face cream

kept, half-open, in front of the rust
dusted mirror— scent of
english lavender masking thinly

the slicing of purple onions,
swollen like eyes, tossed with salt and lemon
in a bowl next to the aching varnish of the puja.

to underestimate the power of hope
is to wear your dead grandmother’s lipstick
and look yourself in the eye,

poking your tongue on the inside of your cheek,
so desperate to find the likeness
that you scare yourself into finding her face

etched in the marrow of your jawline
and you are so afraid that you
scratch the lipstick from your mouth

burning the back of your hand
with a sticky plum bruise and
you hope you might return to your own body

but it is too late. no matter how many times
you splash your face with cold water
you will never wash away the image

of your grandmother, giggling with your dimples
and rubbing lipstick on her teeth
every time you try to smile.

Press enter or esc to cancel